Albania Next to Fall?

As thousands seek asylum in the West, the communist regime may face a showdown

When hundreds of Albanians braved police gunfire last week to seek refuge in a dozen foreign embassies in Tirana, few diplomats doubted their desire to leave Eastern Europe's last redoubt of doctrinaire communism. But many also suspected that the diplomatic missions were being used in a power struggle between hard-liners and reformers in the party leadership.

They could be right. Ever since last year's wave of anticommunist revolutions, Albania's Stalinist-style regime has wavered between digging in and opening up. At first it said it would remain faithful to the orthodox Marxism of longtime leader Enver Hoxha. But last May, Ramiz Alia,...

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